Hillside Community Garden, some child visitors came to work in the garden for the first time. We don't have a separate child's play area, but the little ones helped add buckets of leaves to the garden soil mixture of a new raised bed, helped fill cinder blocks with soil, and helped sprinkle wildflower seeds into each cinder block. These tasks weren't created just for them - they were exactly what we were trying to accomplish, and the children were able to help with the completion of adult tasks. Along the way they stopped at their own pace to watch and touch pill bugs and worms, and that's what we're after. It helps the adults stop, too, and discover what's going on in the garden beyond our to-do list. In short, children and adults mentor each other. It is not a one-way interaction.
This brings to mind one of my most favorite documentaries ever, Mother Nature's Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age. It is both moving and inspiring to anyone who feels called to mentor either children or adults.
Bird language deepens our connection to sense of place. No need to wish we were in some beautiful forested or rural place away from the city to experience nature.
Sensory experiences surround us and are waiting to teach us, the mentors and the students, to know and love the place that we're in. This is true presence. As we tune into nature, we learn about the specific plants and animals that we are protecting by being caretaker of certain place. Our yard is our own sensory garden, no matter the location. Check back soon as I write more about bird language and experiencing nature like owls, deer, and foxes!